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23 Oct, 2014

Israel Denies Palestinians Construction Permits, Demolishes Homes in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM, October 21, 2014 (WAFA) – The Israeli authorities Tuesday demolished three Palestinian homes in addition to three animal sheds in the Jerusalem district neighborhood of al-Tour, under the pretext of construction without a permit, according to local sources.

The three houses, made of tinplate, shelter the Bedouin family of Zara’i residing in East Jerusalem, said Um As’ad Zara’i, owner of one of the three houses.

She said a staff from the Israeli Municipality of West Jerusalem, accompanied by heavy machinery, entered the area at 6am and ordered the houses’ 23 residents to evict their homes, not giving them time to save any of their belongings or furniture. The bulldozers demolished the houses and all of their property leaving only rubble behind.

Living in an open air prison and not given freedom to either work or move, Sheikh Ibrahim Zara’i, head of Zara’i tribe, said his clan members, estimated at 300, have been denied their right to work in Jerusalem City, neither were they allowed free movement in the city.

Meanwhile, WAFA correspondent said the authorities partially demolished a house belonging to Gharably family in Beit Hanina, on the northern outskirts of Jerusalem, also under the pretext of building without a permit.

He added that besides the demolition, Israel decided to seize a plot of land near the house for settlement construction purposes. The recent development comes in a continuity of a surge in property demolition by the Israeli authorities in East Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and all districts of the West Bank.

Last Monday, Israeli army demolished two Palestinian-owned houses in addition to five agricultural structures in the villages of Jeftlik, and Fasayil in the Valley, according to WAFA correspondent.

According to statistics obtained by the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions (ICAHD), Israel has demolished more than 48 thousand Palestinian-owned houses since 1976, either for allegedly administrative purposes or during military action.

In 2014 alone, the ICAHD observed the demolition of 399 houses for ‘administrative’ reasons, whereas more than 18 thousand houses were bombed and devastated during the military onslaught on Gaza.

The Jordan Valley, which makes up approximately 30% of the area of West Bank, has been one of the most inflicted areas in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Being under complete Israeli military and civil control, issuance of construction permits for Palestinian residents, most of whom are Bedouin communities, has been nothing short of a complicated task, forcing many of them to build without obtaining the hard-to-obtain permits.

Israel aspires to annex the Jordan Valley, a goal clear during any peace initiative, for which several rounds of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations have failed.